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8 Noteworthy Stats About Consumers 2015 Holiday Shopping Behavior

Posted by Andrea McFarling on December 1, 2015

As soon as Cyber Monday wrapped up, we surveyed over 1,500 consumers to learn more about their holiday shopping plans. From budgets to timelines, channels to devices, here are eight noteworthy takeaways:

1. Nearly 2 out of every 3 consumers will buy gifts this holiday season

While the Grinch stole Christmas for some, 64% of Americans said they are considering or planning to purchase gifts this holiday season. And who will Retailers want to target? Over half (51%) of older millennials and Generation X (aged 34-55) said they will certainly buy gifts.

2. Less than half of men have started holiday shopping

man shoppingWhile 62% of all Americans had started their holiday shopping by the end of Cyber Monday, only 49% of men had started early compared with 70% of women. Online retailers should increase bids on ads for products that are frequently purchased as gifts by men (jewelry, perfume) and plan special free shipping offers as Christmas day approaches.

3. 45% of Americans bought gifts for themselves during Cyber Week

Every year, Retailers slash prices on popular items to spur consumer spending. And Americans are catching on, with many waiting for the Thanksgiving weekend to make purchases for themselves. In fact, 45% of consumers admitted to buying something for their personal use over the holiday weekend.
So what does this mean for Retailers? Even those who don’t traditionally experience seasonality will likely see a boost during the holidays. Be sure to run ads and offer promotions to capture this extra traffic.

4. 62% of consumers plan to spend over $250 on gifts this year

The majority of Americans will spend $250 or more to fulfill their gift list this season. Although not surprising, the young (aged 18-24 years old) will spend less than $100. The biggest spenders will be Generation X and Boomers, with 38% saying they will spend over $500. If you’re a retailer that sells small ticket items, make sure to increase bids for smartphone ads as phones are millennials device of choice for researching products.

5. Search engines beat Amazon as the #1 product research destination

35% of the consumers we surveyed said they start the product research process on a search engine followed by Amazon.com with 25%, and storefronts with 14%. While only 11% go straight to a retailer’s website, this does show the value of brand loyalty. And although some social media sites like Facebook hope to one day become an ecommerce destination, only 4% of consumers currently use them to start the research process.

6. 2 out of 3 consumers shop for gifts online and in stores

We’ve said it time and time again, but having a successful omnichannel strategy is critical for Retailers. Consumers are demanding a seamless shopping experience everywhere they go. A solid 66% of them said they plan to shop both online and in stores this holiday season. Only 17% will shop solely online and another 17% will only shop in stores. The biggest segment of cross-channel shoppers are the young, with 76% of those 18-24 years old saying they’ll shop both on and offline.

7. Younger consumers and those with a lower income prefer to research products on smartphones

smartphoneshoppingWhile desktop is still king with 56% of consumer saying it’s their “go to” for product research, 46% of Americans also say they’ll use smartphones this holiday season. Smartphones are also preferred by young shoppers, with 61% of 18-24 year olds using them for research. An interesting correlation is that 55% of those making under $25k per year also favor the device.

8. 3 in 4 consumers say they are not influenced by social media ads and they would not make a purchase on a social site

While a wide range of Buy Buttons became available to Retailers in advance of the holiday season, we haven’t seen much adoption. Many are taking a “watch and wait” approach and monitoring performance results before they invest.

We asked consumers if they are influenced by social media ads, and if they would be willing to make a purchase on a social site. In both cases, 77% of those surveyed said they are not influenced by them and they don’t plan to make a purchase on a social site. While these numbers may appear ominous, we’ve actually seen ads perform extremely well on Facebook thanks to its audience-level targeting capabilities. The channel also continues to be a large revenue driver for Retailers.

Another interesting point to note is that 39% of the consumers who admitted to being influenced by social ads are aged 45-64 years old. If you’re a Retailer with a large Boomer customer base, don’t leave social ads off your list of options.

Looking Ahead

We’ll continue to monitor holiday shopping patterns as we get deeper into the season. We’ll also take a look at how advertising is impacted by these behaviors. All of this data will be published in our 2015 Holiday Discoveries Report which will be released the first week in January, so stay tuned!

Tell us—what do you think of these results? Is there anything that surprised you?


*Data Source: 1500 respondents, Google, US General Population aged 18 years+

Topics: Featured Post, Google, holiday results, holidays, omnichannel, Seasonality


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